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Posts tagged: orchestral

Sasha Cooke’s entrancing Berlioz songs, a bewitching premiere and masterpieces of Debussy and Ravel: thanks to De Waart and the NZSO

By , 21/04/2018
Though this turned out a great concert with an enthusiastic reception of Ravel’s Boléro at the end, I had heard a number of less than excited reactions to the programme beforehand. There’s an ‘attitude’ surrounding Boléro, and not the whole world loves Debussy as much as the music historians generally do. That left Les nuits d’ été, but then there are still a sad few who have inherited an earlier... read more

NZSM Orchestra’s “Triple” celebration with the Te Kōkī Trio

By , 17/04/2018
There was palpable excitement among those gathering within the none-too-spacious vistas of  St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace Church for the most recent concert given by Te Kōkī New Zealand School Of Music’s Orchestra with conductor Kenneth Young, most certainly due to the event’s extra attraction in presenting the fabulous Te Kōkī Trio as guest soloists in Beethoven’s wondrous Triple Concerto! – of course, each of the Trio’s soloists are currently heads of their... read more

Wellington Chamber Orchestra in interesting Alfred Hill exploratory mode

An adventurous and stimulating programme was chosen by the Wellington Chamber Orchestra for this first concert of 2018.  The works demanded, and received, almost a full symphony orchestra.  Whether the bright acoustic of St. Andrew’s can cope with this number of players, including brass (mercifully this time not in the sanctuary – it was occupied by the piano, and the percussion) is another matter.  A number of rows of... read more

De Waart and NZSO: Brilliant Mozart two piano concerto and epic Mahler performance

By , 06/04/2018
For me, two of Mozart’s most beguiling works have adjacent numbers in the Köchel catalogue: the Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola (K 364) and the Concerto for two pianos (K 365), meaning that scholars believed they were written about the same time, 1779. Certainly, they have both been deeply embedded in my affections, perhaps through the performances I first heard. This was a little before Mozart’s leaving Salzburg for... read more

National Youth Orchestra’s summer concert a brilliant showcase for cellist Balzat in Elgar concerto

By , 03/02/2018
To start the year, neither Peter Mechen nor I was prepared to forego hearing the National Youth Orchestra and debated the question of authoring a review. We settled by both giving up something we each hated being deprived of – that is, the entire concert. The compromise: I cover the first half and Peter, the second. Much as one attempts to avoid repetitious expressions of amazement at the remarkable accomplishment and... read more

NZSO opens the musical year with Bach, Rameau and Locatelli

The orchestra made a start to the New Year that was rather different from usual.  A band without conductor, but led from the violin, that was made up of between 12 and twenty-five players, depending on the work being played.  Unusually, the players stood to perform, except of course the harpsichordist (Douglas Mews) and the cellists; the horns and percussion had chairs to sit on in those movements where... read more

Legal choristers and instrumentalists in anniversary class action supporting child cancer campaign

It was heartening to see such a large bunch of lawyers who enjoy making music – and the large, mainly young audience who came to hear their second performance.  The 38-strong orchestra included some 21 players from the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington, but only one lawyer – the indefatigable Merran Cooke, who rehearses the performers and organised the concert.  The choir consisted of 53 singers. The composers selected were a... read more

Admirable Sibelius as well as Lilburn and a rare trombone concerto from Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 10/12/2017
Lilburn’s Suite for Orchestra was composed for the Auckland Junior Symphony Orchestra in 1955. Thus it was a sensible piece for a non-professional orchestra, though that is not to suggest that its wide-ranging moods, brilliant orchestration and rhythms that range widely from the utmost subtlety to the unusually boisterous are not very taxing. Subtle brass playing is rarely a highlight of amateur orchestras and it was trumpets and trombones that... read more

Cataclysmic conclusion to Orchestra Wellington’s Diaghilev season

By , 02/12/2017
This concert began with two of the most famous chords in all nineteenth-century music, those which opened a thrilling performance by Orchestra Wellington of Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, the work by which the composer allegedly intended to celebrate the achievements of Napoleon Bonaparte, but changed his mind, and, according to an eye-witness account, scratched out the original dedication, and reinscribed it as “composed in memory of a great man”. Napoleon or... read more

NZSO players in special concert under Aisslinn Nosky with Baroque masters

By , 17/11/2017
It’s been a fine Baroque week in Wellington, at St Andrew’s, with an attractive lunch-time concert on Wednesday, with four strings from Wellington’s two professional orchestras and an NZSM harpsichordist; and this evening a special ensemble, of 18 players from the NZSO, plus harpsichordist Douglas Mews. The story behind this evening’s concert was elaborate. NZSO violinist Anne Loeser travelled to Toronto in the Summer of 2014 for an intensive Baroque... read more

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